User-Generated Content campaign: let authenticity boost your marketing

29
November
2023
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Whether tagged in Instagram stories, mentioned in LinkedIn posts, or quoted in blog posts, brands have pulled off an unprecedented trick in recent years: authentically becoming part of the content created by their customers.

User-Generated Content campaign: let authenticity boost your marketing

Do you too dream of having your loyal customers give enthusiastic praise to your brand, in order to attract new audiences to you?

Then there's a term that might interest you: User-Generated Content.

Find out everything you need to know here, from the benefits of UGC to how to collect and use it in your marketing campaigns.

What is User-Generated Content?

The term "User-Generated Content" (also commonly known as UGC) designates any type of original content created and published on the Internet by individuals using your products or services.

User-Generated Content can take many forms: it can be pure text, visuals (images, photos, videos) or audio content.

UGC can also come from several types of individuals, such as: 

  • Your customers
  • Your employees
  • Content creators

How can User-generated content benefit your brand?

The reason why so many brands have decided to integrate collecting and using User-Generated Content into their marketing strategy is because it's a valuable business tool today.

The major benefits of UGC include:

  • Capitalizing on authenticity, a key value for today's consumers, by presenting spontaneous and genuine content surrounding your offers.
  • Reinforce brand awareness, by ensuring that your brand image radiates naturally on the web.
  • Increase your brand's reach on social media. Indeed, UGC posts generally receive very high engagement rates as social media algorithms prioritize this type of content.
  • Drive traffic to your website. User-Generated Content can become one of the key drivers for bringing potential new customers to your digital platform.
  • Boost your sales. UGC provides social proof that reassures potential customers, and encourages them to buy your products.
  • Gather a committed community around your brand.
  • Reduce your content creation time. Thanks to UGC, you organically obtain content to reshare on your networks.
  • Gather customer insights and feedback, so you can continuously improve your offers thanks to UGC, which includes optimization tips for your products or services.

It's for you to seriously consider this type of strategic content!

As audiences trust ads from brands less than recommendations from their peers, User-Generated Content has become an absolute must. Not only does it make your company more credible and trustworthy, it also extends the reach of your brand messages on the Internet. In digital advertising, campaigns that use this User-Generated Content generally achieve higher completion and click-through rates. Include this UGC in your campaign creatives, and you'll capture the attention of audiences who are less sensitive to online advertising. What types of User-Generated Content exist? Emma Deperraz, Marketing Project Manager at Gamned!

As you read above, User-Generated Content comes in a variety of formats. But within those formats themselves, many types of UGC exist. Here are a few to consider and add to your content strategy.

Customer reviews

There are many platforms where your customers can spontaneously leave their reviews on the Internet: on your Google listing, on dedicated sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, on your Facebook page...

Some brands decide to reuse this UGC in their communications strategy afterwards - as is the case here for Backlinko: 

Customer testimonials

This type of web content is generally produced by the brand itself, which conducts an interview with one of its customers. 

This can be textual content in the form of a blog article, or video, as PlayPlay does here, interviewing its customer JCDecaux:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpNlNJvi29E&ab_channel=PlayPlay 

Case studies

This type of UGC goes deep into the case of a specific customer, explaining what issues they had before using the company's product or service, and how the company responded to them.

At Gamned! we use this type of UGC ourselves to demonstrate the  value of our digital advertising expertise - as for example here, where we present our project with Bloomingdale's:

Contests and hashtag campaigns

To generate User-Generated Content on social media, brands are increasingly using the contest and competition format. The idea is simple: ask your customers to post content about your products or services, tagging it with a brand hashtag, for a chance to win a prize.

The famous high-tech brand GoPro uses this marketing technique, launching its GoPro Awards.

Countless fans of the brand try to win prizes or cash rewards by posting videos filmed with the brand's famous cameras. In return, GoPro is able to reuse this content on its website and social media:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CyyWAHmuKUg/ 

Generic posts on social media

Not all User-Generated Content is multimedia. Some may still be in the form of text-based social media posts, where the customer describes precisely what they liked about the product or service.

Unboxing posts

Unboxing posts are always popular on the Internet: these are posts where customers film themselves unboxing the order they've made, to show off the product they've received.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/-6hkss19lgc 

Influencer and thought leadership content

Content creators are fabulous sources of User-Generated Content - whether they're fans of your solutions without you needing to contractualize your relationship with them, or as part of an influencer marketing campaign.

Already blessed with an engaged audience that trusts them, they enable your brand to benefit from a radiant, authentic image.

For example, in this LinkedIn post, one of the platform's "Top Voices" in the social media category spontaneously explains how much he appreciates Agorapulse, a content planning software for social networks:

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/moreinmedia_how-do-you-schedule-social-media-content-activity-7105150150934716417-YAnP?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop 

Review blog posts

While social platforms have become the quintessential tools of digital communication, blogs are not dead. And if you're lucky enough to see a well-referenced blog on search engines publishing an article about one of your solutions, you're a winner!

Customer video reviews

The video format is a particularly popular type of User-Generated Content for companies, as it enables them to gain greater visibility on social media. Internet users are increasingly using this format to share their opinions on the products or services they use.

https://www.tiktok.com/@sothlaure/video/7206353298754915589?q=apple&t=1698934212501 

Customer reviews in podcasts

Podcasts have quickly become a content format that audiences have embraced - and it's not uncommon to hear an host or guest praise a product they particularly like.

Live streams

On video streaming platforms too, users sometimes mention products or services they like. All the more reason to keep an ear out for your brand ambassadors on platforms like Twitch, Facebook Live, TikTok Live or YouTube Live.

How to collect UGC for your marketing?

Interested in using User-Generated Content in your digital marketing campaigns, to enhance your brand image with engaging, authentic content? Find out here how to collect and use it.

Find existing UGC on your brand: a basic requirement

Before you start, it's possible that there is already UGC related to your brand on the Internet - even if you haven't launched any User Generated Content campaigns.

So first of all, find out whether there are already people talking about your brand spontaneously on the Internet - on social media, but also on blogs or customer review platforms, for example.

Boost User-Generated Content creation

It's often necessary to boost the creation of UGC among a brand's customers in order to be able to use it later as social proof. Here's how.

For UGC created by your clients or users

You're sure of it: some of your existing customers would love to tell their audience about your brand, and speak highly of it. But to do that, you need to make them want to do it.

You have several options for boosting UGC about your brand.

You can:

  • Launch a User-Generated Content campaign on social media. This involves asking your customers (on all your communication media) to share how they use your products, then post it on social networks with a specific campaign hashtag. You can then find this content thanks to this famous hashtag.
  • Launch a contest. This is the same strategy as a traditional User-Generated Content campaign, except that you set up a prize to be won as an incentive to create content.
  • Appeal to your audience's creativity. Why not ask them to share new product ideas your brand could develop, for example?
  • Create an “Instagramable” experience based around your brand. By making your product or packaging particularly attractive, you'll inspire your customers to spontaneously post content about your brand, such as unboxings or reviews. You can also customize your product: this technique instantly inspires your customers to talk about the quality of the experience they're being offered.

For influencer-generated content

Do you want influencers to talk more about your brand? Then you need to launch a specific type of User-Generated Content campaign: an influencer marketing campaign.

Start by choosing the right content creators, by selecting influencers: 

  • Aligned with your brand DNA
  • Who have a community close to your core target audience
  • Who receive a good engagement rate on their publications - choose whether you want to target nano and micro-influencers, who have a higher engagement rate, or "big" influencers with a larger community but sometimes lower engagement rates.
  • Who have a natural affinity with your product 

Then set up a clear contract and brief to work with them within a well-defined framework. But don't hesitate to give them the creative freedom to share their real opinions in their content: this is essential to leave room for authenticity in their UGC publications.

How to use your User-Generated Content campaign in your marketing strategy

Once your UGC has been gathered, the next step is to make it visible to as many people as possible.

The prerequisite for reusing User-Generated Content is to ask the original creator for permission to reuse the content in question. Indeed, they must give you explicit permission to use their image and/or content in your digital strategy.

You can then use your UGC on all marketing channels that seem relevant to you, and on which genuine social proof can become a real sales argument.

For example, you may choose to integrate customer reviews and testimonials, or even videos or social media posts, into your website’s pages - for example, on your product pages to show your products in action.

An example of UGC integrated on a Ruka Hair product page

And why not share this UGC on your own social media accounts, as a social proof driver?

https://www.instagram.com/p/CzB-RBYMorS/?img_index=1 

An example of UGC shared on the ASOS Instagram account

One of the greatest keys to success for your marketing strategy? Highlighting your User-Generated Content in your advertising campaigns. For example, you can include text-based customer reviews, or a visual (such as a video or image), in a video ad or banner.

When accompanied by a more discreet brand message (a logo or slogan at the end of the video, for example), this UGC works particularly well, as it allows the post to blend into the target audience's news feed as "authentic" content.

Other brands also imitate UGC codes in their campaigns. For example, "POV" (Point Of View) video ads are proliferating on social networks at the moment - and with good reason! They echo the organic posts that many influencers create themselves.

Need help with your next digital advertising campaign, to apply today's ad best practices? Contact a Gamned! expert today, and let's talk about your projects.

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